Did you know that, in 2019, the Sea Harvest Group broke with the “Sea Harvest tradition” of only doing fish and expanded its product basket to include dairy products? The announcement of its offer to purchase Ladismith Cheese Company Proprietary Limited (“Ladismith Cheese”) a few months earlier came as a surprise to the market but according to Group CEO, Felix Ratheb, the decision was in line with an aggressive growth strategy for the business post its listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in March 2017.
The dairy company was effectively added to the listed fishing Group’s growing stable of companies when the Group’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Cape Harvest Foods Proprietary Limited (Cape Harvest), concluded the share purchase agreement of R527 million to acquire the entire issued share capital of Ladismith Cheese in July 2018. At the time of the acquisition, Ratheb stated that, “Ladismith Cheese exhibits strong fundamentals. It is a profitable branded fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) food manufacturer of significant scale in the food and agricultural sector. It has a long track record, a strong national brand and a proven management team. As a Group, we believe that we can leverage our core competencies and strengths to achieve significant future growth in Ladismith Cheese.” He added that he expected the dairy sector to experience continued growing demand for cheese and butter in response to consumer dietary changes towards natural fat products.
Sea Harvest’s South African and Australian seafood businesses are committed to sustainable fishing. The Group markets its Hake (white fish) and some of its prawn products under the blue Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) logo – the gold standard for sustainability within the global fishing industry. Meanwhile, through its majority share in Viking Aquaculture, Sea Harvest is also a key player in South Africa’s Aquaculture sector.
However, the Group is not all about profit and balances its commercial objectives with its commitment to supporting local communities. The Sea Harvest Foundation, along with the Group’s policies and practices, have resulted in Sea Harvest being a key contributor to South African fishing transformation. In addition, as a co-sponsor of the South African Fisheries Development Fund, the Group has provided support to previously marginalised fishing communities in South Africa.
The Sea Harvest Group share price was hovering around the R14,00 mark in early September 2020.